The countdown to the active parts of the NFL off-season has begun, starting with free agency. Here’s a mock rundown of where the NFC teams will go.
Green Bay Packers – $27.2 million – Sign: Aqib Talib
One thing to remember is the Green Bay Packers are not big free agency spenders except on their own players, so nobody should expect them to go on a huge spree. However, if they do seek some outside help they might want to bolster their secondary. Aqib Talib is the kind of cover corner they love and he might not be too expensive for them.
Minnesota Vikings – $23.9 million – Sign: Lamarr Houston
The defensive front is about to undergo some changes for the Minnesota Vikings. They have to make sure it doesn’t deplete too much. Signing a player like Lamarr Houston would lend them so much flexibility since he has the strength and quickness to play defensive end but the size to move inside to defensive tackle.
Carolina Panthers – $20.9 million – Sign: Hakeem Nicks
It became quite clear against San Francisco that the Carolina Panthers need more weapons for Cam Newton. Already links are being established between them and Hakeem Nicks. The Giants receiver had a rough 2013 season but he’s still young and would present a quality NFL target for Newton.
Philadelphia Eagles – $20.9 million – Sign: Sam Shields
The defense should get primary attention during the off-season from top to bottom. Adding help at corner is a great place to start. Though overlooked at times, Sam Shields was a steady, reliable cover man for the Packers and fits perfectly in a 3-4 scheme. The Eagles could plug him right in day one.
Washington Redskins – $14.7 million – Sign: Zane Beadles
Another teams that needs to focus on defense, but the Washington Redskins can’t do that until they’re sure Robert Griffin III is protected. Giving him help at guard would help greatly. Zane Beadles was one of the underrated names who assisted Denver in boasting the greatest offense in league history.
Atlanta Falcons – $13.6 million – Sign: Anthony Collins
Playing behind Andrew Whitworth made it easy to forget how good Anthony Collins is. The veteran backup is capable of starting anywhere else and he proved that when the Bengals shuffled their line late in the season. The Atlanta Falcons badly need blocking help and Collins could be a legitimate option given his size and athleticism.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $11.4 million – Sign: Jared Allen
Lovie Smith knows his defense can’t function without a pass rush, and defensive end is a weak spot on his roster. Jared Allen is expected to test the market and he is a perfect fit for the system. His former coach Leslie Frazier is the Bucs defensive coordinator as well. It seems like an ideal situation.
New York Giants – $9.2 million – Sign: Jon Asamoah
Thing didn’t start really going wrong for the New York Giants until their offensive line started to fall apart. Their interior blocking is a mess and needs help. If they do hit the 2014 NFL free agent market, then finding a guard would be their best choic. Jon Asamoah doesn’t get much publicity but he was one of the keys in help Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles reach another Pro Bowl.
Chicago Bears – $7.3 million – Sign: Clinton McDonald
Phil Emery has proven quite adept at finding under-the-radar free agents (see Matt Slauson). While the Chicago Bears still have ways to create more cap space, the best thing for them to do is find defensive tackle help with what they have. Clinton McDonald got little to no attention among the great Seattle defensive names, but he did post 5.5 sacks and was a regular force pass rushing up the middle.
San Francisco 49ers – $5.1 million – Sign: Danario Alexander
Danario Alexander has a world of talent at his disposal, not to mention height at 6’5″. It’s little wonder the San Diego Chargers have tried hard to keep him in the past. However, that may change in 2014. The San Francisco 49ers badly need a size upgrade at receiver, and Alexander would present a cheap option for them given his injury history.